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George Russell

6.23.23 – 7.27.09

I met George Russell in my first semester as a junior-year student at New England Conservatory in 1975. We were both from Cincinnati and I … Read More "George Russell"

I met George Russell in my first semester as a junior-year student at New England Conservatory in 1975. We were both from Cincinnati and I think that he liked that fact-though he had much to say about racism there and I completely agreed. Whatever the subject, George spoke his mind.

His groundbreaking theory of jazz harmony, The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, made sense to me on many levels, though I must admit that I was not an acolyte. His teaching method was, to me, rather dry and unyielding, and somewhat lacking in enthusiasm. George’s real strength was as a composer and arranger-where he was most himself. I remember getting goose bumps listening to Sheila Jordan singing “You Are My Sunshine” in his strangely beautiful arrangement.

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